Shettles Method – Trying For A Boy Or Girl With The Shettles Method

Gender selection has long been a topic of debate. While some gender selection methods claim to be highly successful, they often disregard other methods, claiming their own to be more accurate.

Of course, most believe the most desired outcome from conception is a healthy baby, no matter which gender. Gender selection should not rule your attempts at conception – some methods can even decrease the chance of conception due to timing methods.

Please note that the information below on the Shettles Method has been included due to popular request and is for reference only. It is not guaranteed to give you the ‘recipe’ for the desired gender you are trying for.

The Shettles Method

Since the 1960s, Dr. Shettles has recommended gender selection methods which he claims is upheld by scientific evidence. The Shettles Method has the advantages of bearing no cost and requiring no medical treatments to conceive.

Men produce two types of sperm which already contain the sex chromosome, pre-determining the sex of the baby-to-be. The X chromosome being female and Y chromosome being male. Dr. Shettles found from his studies that the male sperm are smaller, weaker and faster than the female sperm, which are bigger, stronger and slower. Therefore he was able to come to the following suggestions to help couples try and choose the sex of their baby.

The Most Important Baby Gender Selection Factor: Timing

The most important factor according to the Shettles Method is the timing of intercourse.

The closer to ovulation that you have intercourse, the higher the likelihood that you will have a boy, since they are the faster of the two types of sperm, therefore likely reach the egg first. If you would like a boy, intercourse should take place during times of peak fertile mucus or no more than 12 hours before ovulation (you can detect ovulation through charting, OPK’s etc). If you chart and have a temperature dip, this is a good time to have intercourse or the following morning. You can also have intercourse for a boy when peak mucus changes into thicker mucus.

If you were to have intercourse two to four days prior to ovulation, the higher the likelihood that you will have a girl. This is because the female sperm live for much longer than the male sperm, allowing more female sperm to be able to reach the egg. So if you would like a girl, avoid having intercourse during times of your peak fertile mucus (egg white cervical mucus) which would be more conducive for a boy. By following the Shettles Method, there is less chance of achieving female conception as you are not having intercourse during your peak fertile times. So if pregnancy is more important to you than having a girl baby, Shettles may not be for you.

Baby Gender Selection Factor: Vaginal pH

Shettles tells us that an acidic environment favours girls, killing the weaker male sperm first. This leaves a greater number of X sperm to reach the egg.

The ideal time to have sex for a boy is when the vaginal environment becomes alkaline, which is on the day you ovulate.

Baby Gender Selection Factor: Abstinence

For a boy, you should not have intercourse for 4-5 days prior to ovulation, earlier than that you should use a condom.

For a girl, Shettles recommends daily intercourse from the end of your period until 2-4 days prior to ovulation, then no intercourse 2-3 days after ovulation, when you should use condoms.

Baby Gender Selection Factor: Sexual Position

Sexual position is said to help your chances of gender selection due to both depth of penetration and also due to pH levels. The closer to the opening of the vagina, the more acidic the woman’s reproductive tract is.

Deeper penetration (e.g. doggy-style) is more ideal for a boy, as the male sperm are closer towards the egg, giving them a head start on the female sperm (as well as being further away from the more acidic areas).

Shettles recommends the missionary position for girls.

Baby Gender Selection Factor: Orgasm

For a boy, the woman should try to achieve orgasm either before or at the same time as her partner – or if you are lucky enough, multiple female orgasms can help! The theory on this is that the waves of the orgasm help to draw up the sperm quicker to the egg, again the boys getting a head start on the girls.

For a girl, Shettles recommends women avoid orgasm.

Other Baby Gender Selection Factors

For the men – To try for a boy, Shettles suggests men try and keep the scrotal temperature cool – no hot spas / baths, tight clothing or underwear. Boxer shorts are a good alternative. He also recommends no scuba diving, heated vehicles for extended durations or other areas of high heat. A few cups of strong coffee half an hour before intercourse favours a boy.

Shettles Baby Gender Selection Success Rate

Shettles claims that his methods for a boy have a success rate of 80-85% and the methods for a girl a little less at 75-80%.

More Information

Check out the book, How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: The Method Best Supported by Scientific Evidence by Dr. Shettles. Another book written on conceiving for specific genders is Choose the Sex of Your Baby – The Natural Way.

Experiencing Feelings Of Gender Disappointment Or Anxiety?

If you are experiencing feelings of gender disappointment, BellyBelly has published an article on this topic here.

Last Updated: February 23, 2015


Kelly Winder is the creator of, a doula, writer and mother to three awesome children. Currently she's travelling the world for 12 months with her partner and three children, and hopes to inspire more families to do the same.

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